Harlan McKosato: Indian people survive despite mistreatment

A scene from the Iowa Tribe's powwow in Perkins, Oklahoma. Photo from Facebook

Harlan McKosato wants to celebrate Indian culture and not focus on racism or oppression:
Do you ever get tired of hearing about the plight of the American Redskin? Do you ever get tired of hearing about how pitiful it is to be Native American from our own Native writers, the mainstream American press, and international media outlets? I do. I get pretty sick and tired of it. We’re not all the upset, militant, discomforted, disenchanted, downtrodden people that we’re made out to be. Just don’t make us mad at you.

Last weekend I went home to my hometown powwow in Perkins, Oklahoma – Ioway tribal land. This lazy town on the outskirts of nowhere came alive with Native culture, history and tradition. It’s one of our well-kept secrets that doesn’t need to be commercialized, commodified, or glamorized in any sense of the words. It was just us Indians being Indians in our own way. We showed pride in ourselves to ourselves.

It made me feel good for our people – especially our young ones. There was no investigation of an unknown cause of death for one of our tribal people, or someone being abducted. There was no story involving meth causing our tribal members to feel sorrowful. There was no court case involving racism or prejudice that caused our people to march in protest. There was no mention of the Doctrine of Discovery or the Marshall Trilogy.

We came together to celebrate our past, our present, and our future. It’s a great thing to be Native American in this day and age. I state this for the record. I’m tired of all the newcomers to the bandwagon of the “Native movement” and all of those trying to fit in with the “Native cause” trying to convince those of us who have been here all along that there is something terribly, horribly wrong with the way we are treated and our very existence. There’s not.

Get the Story:
Harlan McKosato: Don't Shed Tears for Us Poor Indians (Indian Country Today 6/30)